Thursday, July 31, 2014

SH123 - Achieve A Cognition













video: Ookii Ichinensei to Chiisana Ninensei (Anime Mirai/Young Animator Training Project 2014)
music: Dysentery - "Pernicious Passing"
link: zippyshare [33.2 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: July 2014

I've done better trigger work than this; indeed, the next video on the list is almost solely focused on doing blastbeats properly.  However, it's not often that I've done quite so many.  There are 139 cuts in this video, total, and 39 of them are triggered strobes.  Per the limitations of the tracking format I put together three computers and 13 years ago, when I was still working in a linear editor, this one is a lot faster (0.94 spc to 1.16 spc) faster than the last one, but if you treat triggers as an effect, it becomes a more normal 1.3 to 1.32.  Most of the ones that are in the video work, even if some aren't optimally located.  It's the ones that aren't in the video that cause problems, and again, the next video is about precise location and optimal handling of blastbeats, because this is something you can't get away from if you're going to work with death metal.

Monday, July 28, 2014

SH122 - Deathblow













video: Short Peace: A Farewell to Weapons
music: Dysentery - "Decimation of Fear"
link: zippyshare [45.4 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: July 2014

This video (and probably, others after it if they come as quickly as planned) was done to get back into the habit of making AMVs.  The cut was really non-painful, but could have been better; I was working from a shitty bootleg print and so ended up having to do two render passes to smooth out all kinds of stupid blocking all over the damn place.  Lesson learned, which I should have had from way back when I was doing 13-hour TMPEG renders, do all your cleaning in pre, don't waste time in post, but then again, most of three years of ring rust.

M.D. Geist is still in the source pile for the Master video that this is a tune-up for, but this video here pretty much discharges my desire to do a standalone M.D. Geist AMV completely.  This is all from the last chunk of Short Peace, which is basically Kazuhiro Otomo saying "man, what'd it be like if M.D. Geist was good, instead of a Mad Max ripoff written by retards?"  The other chunks are tentatively slated to go in other tune-up videos; those have less obvious forebearers, but will still get fucking filtered in pre.

This video also turned out to be a commentary on how weird shit is in the modern day.  Short Peace is incredible, and this short is the tentpole of the entire project, but literally ZERO videos had been entered with it at AMV.org when I ginned up the video entry.  What the FUCK.  Get your shit together, shattered shards of the AMV scene.  Also, I happened to go straight from Rossomahaar's metal-archives page to Dysentery's when doing the links, and found that Will's no longer on vocals for them.  That's even weirder; Dysentery's not really a band that you'd think of as being able to go on without any original members, and it's been Will's gruesome pus-covered baby for the last ten+ years.  Weird, man.  He's still singing on this one, because it's also off Internal Devastation, but it's going to be strange and interesting to see them live the next time and see how they go forward on record.

Friday, December 20, 2013

SH121 - Auferstehen des B├╝roarbeits














video: Patlabor TV
music: Equilibrium - "Prolog auf Erden"
link: zippyshare [26.3 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: December 2013

After more than a year and a half of not doing anything, I got off the schneid and finished SH121, a concept video that redeems itself by having Patlabor and Equilibrium in it.  This was also a good test run for a bunch of other long cuts that are still on the drawing board, even if it's pretty unlikely that a lot of them are ever going to become videos.

This video comes with a manifesto, because this is what editors do when they don't edit much any more: they pontificate about why editing is worthless and pointless.

--

This is the first AMV in a long while where I can think that I may have created something.  I have seen what's at the bottom of the well, and there's nothing there.

Specifically, when we think about AMVs, we generally think about sync, about story, and about the mood or feeling.  However, the first two of these are really founded on sand.  On SH119, I explored the idea of sync and found that there was less there than supposed: you could 'sync' the same video to two quite different audio tracks simultaneously.  SH119 does not have the best sync in the world, not in either track, but that it works at all -- and plays very differently depending on the audio -- undermines the idea that sync is deterministic.  If you have a 120 bpm song -- the classic moderato tempo that practically everything on the radio is at, you can count along in 4/4 if you like and put your second hand on it -- you get 2 beats to the second, so the most that any cut or movement can be out of sync with some beat or another is .25 seconds.  That's getting pretty close to the limits of perceptive closure, the threshold where the human mind just says "it's supposed to be together, so we'll interpret it as together".  If you have a faster song, your windows are even smaller: this makes it easier to synch, contrary to a lot of received wisdom, because your hits and changes are necessarily closer to something, no matter where they happen to occur.

SH115 of course attacks the idea that 'story' is necessarily a contribution of the editor.  If people can find intent and direction in SH115, they are 1) creating it themselves 2) out of the bones of the single film source.  This shows that 'story' is going to be an emergent property in anything cut out of directed footage: because we don't shoot our own footage, there is always someone else's story embedded in it.  This can be alleviated a little by cutting out of a large number of sources, or very, very, deliberate crosscutting, but this is wicked hard, and we don't, as a community, hold people to this rigorous standard when they claim to have put a story in.  What 'story' means, in the main, in AMVs, is that someone has taken only the 3 minutes of cuts needed to tell someone else's story, discarding everything that they felt was extraneous.

So if 'sync' is largely suspect, and 'story' almost completely suspect, there's only 'mood' left.  This is kind of where SH121 came from, picking up on strands from SH119: if the same video can play differently depending on the audio track, perhaps 'mood' is solely a reaction to the song, and a video would be as expressive with panes of solid color instead of animation -- or with scenes of regular office work.  This is incomplete as yet, because there's still some internal setup in this one, and a directorial hand (mine and mostly Head Gear's) setting up sequences of shots rather than forming a pure visualization of the sound.  But to the extent that this video is epic rather than episch, mood is an emergent property of the music.  Ask yourself: when did you hear of an AMV whose video made dark and brooding music light and happy, or light and happy music dark and anguished?  The music commands, and the visuals follow.

To reiterate:
- 'sync' exists in a fairly debatable fashion and can be done by accident
- 'story' is an emergent property of anything rebuilt out of parts that were directed to begin with
- 'mood' is an emergent property of the music that gets passed to the video passim
This leaves the AMV editor with very little to do; their contribution is mostly the idea, the discovery of synthesis between music and video.  Most AMVing is thus an immensely more time-consuming and nit-picking way of dropping the needle as soon as the MGM lion roars.  This is the ultimate explanation of why there is such a fascination with effects, with masking, with combining multiple titles: these are all original things that an editor can do to add value to something that in many ways would be able to function without them.  From the other side, if you're not doing that stuff, because it's hard, because it's less possible with your setup, because it's only tenuously related to the part where you combine music with animation in a way someone else hasn't thought of, then your videos do not have enough original content in them to justify words like "creator" or "artist".

That said, people eventually fall out the other side as well: no matter how much original work they spackle on, they're ultimately working with someone else's scaffold, and will eventually pursue actual original animation, filmmaking, or direction on order to break free from the constraints of AMV.  So AMV at its base is pointless, and at its most developed heights is incomplete and self-defeating.

This doesn't mean that people should stop making videos.  What it does mean is that people should be conscious of what AMV is, and then make the videos they want to make, the way they want to make them, in the awareness that this is a lot of smoke and shadows.  So is life.  If the knowledge that AMVs are an empty bucket with a hole in it stops you from editing, your potential videos were probably crap.  And if it doesn't, hopefully it will make people work harder, to produce the best and most fully realized empty buckets with holes in the bottom that they can.

--

The translations: the video title is probably best translated as "Rising of the Officework", like on the original .org forum ad card.  "Ein Zeichentrickfilmauseinandersetzung des K. u. K. Stromler AGs" is "An AMV (literally, "(drawn) animation video disassociation") from K. and K. Stromler Incorporated"; 'u.' is short for 'und' and appears like this in a lot of Germanic business names, while 'AG' is short for Aktiengesellschaft, a company traded on the stock market.  The point of this stuff is that Equilibrium write a lot of fancy German in unreadable fonts, and the video is all office work.  In the source cards, "tonband" is "soundtrack", "bildnisherkunft" is a clunky way of writing "visual source", "Bewegspolizisten Patlabor" is a freehand retranslation of "Kidou Keisatsu Patolabor" (Mobile Police Patlabor), and "Fernsehserie" is the longest way I could find of writing "TV (series)".  The last card reads: "Legally and Socially Responsible: fuckit, dude", because this is the punchline of the credits sequence.

Friday, June 15, 2012

SH120 - Arclight - A History of Violence













video: Denpa Teki na Kanojo
music: Dysentery - "Epilogue"
link: depositfiles [5.8 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: April 2012

This is finally released here due to finding a semi-reliable host.  The rest of the catalog will probably get moved to depositfiles over the next couple months, with a notification when it's complete.

This is probably going to end up being the last SH video.  I have a few other irons in the fire, but working on them is not a real priority.  Stuff may occasionally show up here relating to that, but it's best to treat this as the closing of this particular chapter.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sevastopol rough cut










video: Tae Guk Gi
music: Heaven Shall Burn - "Sevastopol"
link: mediafire [4.4 MB]

This is a rough cut of the first 21 seconds of a video I've been not working on for the past three months, since it was too hot to do anything. I only had the first vob cut -- there are like 6 more left, including nearly all of the content that will go in the bulk of the video -- but after such a long layoff I had to do something to assure myself that I even knew how to do this shit. Hence, this cut.

The final video is probably not going to look a lot like this, composition-wise, but the trigger behavior is probably pretty close. I may play around with the color, but in the final analysis I don't know what to do with blastbeats, especially on such a violent source and directly aggressive music, except trigger them, and it mostly works. If this was going into an actual cut, I'd've fixed some points up, but even as it is, it works ok, which is what I was trying to convince myself of.

Note: there are 8 triggered sections in these 20 seconds; compare to 28 triggers in 150 or so seconds on SH112. Granted, some of those triggered sections run on for five and ten seconds at a time, but the point remains.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

SH119 - superposed














video: Moonlight Mile
music: Cynic - "Integral Birth" or "Integral"
link: depositfiles [47 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: June 2011

This video puts two audio tracks behind one video track in order to, like SH115, attack the conventional wisdom in AMVs. Where that one shows how narrative is an emergent property in any video constructed out of a single directed source, this one demonstrates that a lot of what AMVers think of as "synch" is an emergent property of the juxtaposition of any music and any visual track.

I unintentionally picked a good pair of inputs for getting this done, if bad ones for full demonstration effect; Paul Masvidal likely arranged "Integral" to match in with "Integral Birth", probably to do a two-stereo thing like you're supposed to be able to do with some Neurosis and Tribes of Neurot records, as I found out when I had the songs on the timeline. Alternately, this is just more emergence; as anyone who knows anything about music knows, if you have two tracks that go at 120 bpm, the most they can ever be out of "synch", beatwise, is a quarter of a second, which is getting right down at the limits of perceptive closure. This, also, is one of the elements that makes this video even possible.

There may be a third one in this chain, but probably not until the fall; that one is plotted to use Atheist, some production tricks, and a 30-episode source that I need to rip and cut.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

SH117 - Verlorene Herkunft: Sakana and SH118 - The Process of Calcification

This is two videos released in one brick for nostalgia reasons, and also because they're kind of short individually. The classic-Earache-cover cut from last time shows up in the credits.














video: Twilight Q2 and Angel's Egg
music: Dissection - "Feathers Fell" and "No Dreams Breed In Breathless Sleep"
link: depositfiles [20.6 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: January 2011

From late October to the end of December 2010 I converted nearly all of my VHS collection to DVD. (There are still like six tapes that I need to macrovision-kill, but that's it.) There are other projects down the line that are going to use a lot of these homebrew DVDs as source, and I needed to make sure that they were going to work so I could set my expectations correctly.

So, I did a technical proof of concept (TPOC). This is the result, as the oh-so-clever backronym titles show. The original idea was just "Feathers Fell" and just Angel's Egg, but that was too obvious and "No Dreams..." gave some more space for editing. Twilight Q2 was a challenge to cut 40 unsubbed seconds out of and arrange into a video, so that got in on those merits as well. The music under the credits is obviously the start of "At The Fathomless Depths"; if I had Angel's Egg on DVD, I might have tried to cut a video for one of the real songs on Storm of the Light's Bane.